Peek into Our Week: October 26-30

Grace is reading Little Women while Penny keeps watch.

Our routine is smooth
Our flow is back
Now all I ask
Is we stay on track

Sometimes a little poetry is cathartic. This week was good. There were bumps…there always are…and we press on. If anything I’m the one feeling a little off these days. Maybe it’s the state of our country and world…maybe it’s the political angst…maybe it’s the fact that I’m realizing how soon my nest will be empty. The last decade brought us into this homeschooling adventure. This next decade will bring a totally different season. I’m honestly not comfortable with this idea yet, but I have time and try not to dwell too much in these things.

Many of our activities have (safely) started back. I hate having to add that commentary. I feel we will be heavily chastised if I do not. I find myself adding phrases like …while socially distanced… and …while wearing masks… to almost everything these days just so there are no rushed assumptions. But I digress…

Many of our activities have started back and this has been a huge boost to smoothing out any of the routine bumps that were still there. The girls have missed face-to-face interactions and to have even a few return is a solid win. Here are updates on each of the gals.

Beth studying Awana.

At 13 Beth has become a most studious young lady. Her favorite place to work is often in our bedroom sprawled across our bed. Many times I will enter the room to put something away to find her with work all around and listening to a musical soundtrack. These days she’s enjoying Esther from Sight and Sound Theaters or The Sound of Music.

She is zipping through Algebra 1. We are using No Nonsense Algebra from Math Essentials. It is excellent, no frills, and a great fit for her. She also studied pre-algebra from the same company.

For literature she is using the 8th grade curriculum I wrote for Schoolhouse {aff. link} a couple of years ago. It is good for me to see this in action and I’m so pleased with the outcome for her. She’s covering a variety of genre this year and seems to be enjoying the pacing. To round out this subject she’s working on Caught Ya! grammar, All About Spelling, and Writing Strands.

History with Heart of Dakota is the best preparation for independent learning I have ever encountered. I love the notebooking, research, living history, map studies, and more. Although I have deviated from a few things from the curricula as the girls got older to fit their personal needs better, I cannot say enough good things about this company!

Finally is science. Beth is continuing to take a science class with our local homeschool learning center. While it is online this year, it’s still such solid content. She’s had the biggest adjustment here this year as she’s moved up into junior division and the workload is significantly more. Learning to balance her time in this has been challenging, but so very rewarding!

Grace studying math with lots of books as her cushions!

Grace is showing much maturity this year. She’s 11 and working on studies much deeper than many her age. With this year came an increase in work-load which was a lot for her to handle. I was tempted to back off a little bit in the first few weeks, but I’m glad I didn’t for her sake. I knew it wasn’t too much, but for her it was the greater amount of time. I just chose to sit with her while she worked and encourage her to stay focused. Now she is zipping away through most of it, has learned to budge her time, as well as the benefits of working ahead if she has extra time.

She is working through Math Mammoth and will be fully prepared for pre-algebra at the end of the material. She understands the concepts and is learning to slow down a bit and pay attention to what word problems are asking. She is also enjoying Life of Fred as a supplement 2 days a week. That is what she is working on in the picture above. Many families use this as their core. I like a more traditional approach and use it as a supplement, giving my girls a different way to look at mathematics.

In elementary school I have my girls read quality literature without a lot of extra instruction. Right now she is reading Little Women as an abridged classic. I also really advocate introducing kids to abridged classic stories all through elementary school so they are excited about the story when they approach it later on in schooling in it’s full rendition. I have an entire shelf dedicated to abridged classics and they titles from Dickens, Shakespeare, Austen, Melville, and more. This has proven to be an excellent approach for the older girls so I’m continuing it with Grace. She rounding out this subject with Rod and Staff Grammar (We LOVE the simplicity and traditional structure!), All About Spelling, and Writing Strands.

Heart of Dakota’s Creation to Christ has been the most challenging for Grace as it’s workload intensifies from previous guides. She’s also using notebooking, learning research and map skills, and studying harder things. Just like her older sisters the adjustment and challenge is worth it! I’ve not been great at doing the art studies with my kids through this guide, so starting next week we will all 4 be working on the water color tutorials. I am hoping this is a good way to pass the cold winter days coming, knowing we may be facing more activities closing down again.

Just like Beth, Grace is studying science at our local learning center. Her teacher raises the bar in quality remote learning. She has such an excitement about learning and it’s a beautiful thing to watch!

Rose learning The Grinch for recital.

Rose loves music. She (as her sisters) have studied piano since they were 3 or 4…it makes it easy when you live with your piano teacher! I have 19 other students, but these three are my favorite. She is also self-taught on the ukulele and is working to learn how to play the mandolin. Beth is learning to play the glockenspiel (mallet bells) and Grace has dabbled in hand drumming and guitar. It’s fun to see them really embrace learning music.

This year has been a very different learning structure for Rose. Just like everyone else she’s our oldest experimental child so I wasn’t certain how our plan would work out, but so far it’s going very nicely! At the beginning of the year we sat down and talked about her goals and what classes she would need to meet those goals, namely begin dual enrollment next year.

For literature she is using another curriculum, American Literature, I wrote for Schoolhouse {aff. link}. Again, seeing this in action in our home has left me feeling very good about the job I did in creating it. The structure is to study American lit through the lens of history. I spent intensive amounts of time studying American history alongside American literature to see how one impacted the other. I’m very pleased so far with how much she is grasping. Rose is using Jenson’s Grammar, All About Spelling, and Writing Strands.

Math…oh math. Math has been the most intense for Rose all through schooling. This year she asked to study both Geometry and Algebra 2. We were given Algebra 2 from Teaching Textbooks as a hand-me-down (What a blessing, right?!?!) and we are using Geometry from Schoolhouse {aff. link}.

Chemistry has been a raging success with Mater Books. I’m so very pleased with the strong material without being overwhelmingly complicated. There is a significant emphasis on observational science rather than theoretical and a grounding in how these observations continually point us back to the Creator. Rose is also studying World Religions from Master Books with which we have also been very pleased.

More Schoolhouse {aff. link} courses are rounding out the year with Economics and Government. Rose is reading excellent material by Thomas Sowell. I had never heard of this man before, but I’m impressed over and over again with his common sense approach to economics.

Final Thoughts on the Week…

As we begin the approach the holidays I am grateful for our little family and extended family and friends. This year has not been what anyone wanted, but the Lord is good and faithful. I encourage you to not dwell too very long on the losses, but instead focus on the blessings and ways we can thank the Lord, even if the year has brought pain.

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